A Woman Transformed – Rahab

Scripture:  Joshua 2:1-24, 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

Rahab

Rahab lived about 1406 B.C. in Jericho.  Rahab was strong, brave, decisive and a prostitute.  This was a common profession back in this time but still not looked good upon.  She lived in a house that was at the city wall which made her highly accessible to travelers. Rahab is known in scripture as being Rahab the Harlot.  Harlot meaning a woman that yields herself to any man who approaches her.  During this time she had learned about the Exodus of Israel and the miracles of the Red Sea.

So here we are after 40 years of struggle the Israelites were ready to enter the promised land.  The Israelites were now under the leadership of

Joshua who trained under Moses.  Joshua needed to get the Israelites to the Promised Land so he sent two spies to secretly scout out the area.  Upon their arrival these men were spotted.  So the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab to bring the men out.  Instead under the threat of treason and the penalty of death she hid the men and told the king’s soldiers that they had left town.

So Rahab asked a favor of the two spies.  She asked them to spare her family from death.  They agreed.  Rahab told them to run to the hills so she lowered them by rope through a window to safety outside the city wall.  For seven days she waited and while she heard the Israelities marching around Jericho; but she had faith.  This act and her faith in God earned her the title as a woman of Faith.

As  women, wives and mothers we all have day to day struggles and we make mistakes along the way.  We can learn faith, courage, commitment and o

bedience from Rahab.  As Rahab’s example, no matter what your path in life has been a simple step of faith in Jesus Christ can turn your life around. Hebrews 11:31

Listen she went from prostitute to being in the lineage of motherhood of Jesus Christ.  Wow!  A prosititute in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  What Rahab found was deliverance through the mercy of God.  Friends Rahab experienced a transformed life.  If a prostitute can become a saint of faith and become a mother in the line of Jesus then nothing is impossible.

Rahab had no religious background but she had a courageous choice to make.  First, she chose to have faith. Second, she chose to help. Rahab risked her own life by an act of treason.  Just as God transformed Rahab he is able to transform any life that is brought to Him no matter how wicked, broken or wretched it may be.  God showed her mercy.   Remember that you have not fallen so far that God can’t reach you.  No matter what you’ve done, where you are right now take a risk, put your faith in God and allow Him to transform you.  You are His creation.  You are His precious daughter, allow Him the opportunity to transform you into the woman He created you to be.

 

Praise Him!

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Broken and Naked Before God

 

 
He Without Sin 017    John 8:1-11

My text is from the story of the woman taken in adultery.  It was the time of year during the Feast of Tabernacles, where every Jewish man and woman went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast that commemorates their ancestors living in tents as they wandered thru the wilderness.  Now this story takes place early in the morning.  Jesus is outside the temple teaching a group of people when all of a sudden the scribes and the Pharisees show up dragging behind them a naked woman.  This woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  According to the Law of Moses she is to be stoned to death.  (Lev. 20:10 The man who commits adultery with another’s wife even his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.)

Let’s take a look at the brokenness – as we journey throughout our life we encounter many situations that cause us to become broken people.  Perhaps, we were introduced to drugs and/or alcohol and became addicts.  Or we were physically or sexually abused as children.  We become extremely far in debt, we cheat on college exams or taxes.  How about we catch our spouse, the love of our life, having an affair or a porn addiction.  Just take a look back over your life or your current situation and I’m sure you can name a few things along the way that has caused you to become broken.  I know I have.  At some point in our life we have failed somewhere or someone; we have blown it, we’ve made a wrong choice or two.

So  here we go back to John 8: 2-5 But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  They put her in front of the crowd.  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone here. What do you say?”

These Jewish leaders were trying to trap Jesus.  These men were happy because they figure they’ve got Jesus where they want him.  They know she’s guilty.  She knows she’s guilty.  And Jesus knows she’s guilty.  Everybody knows she’s guilty.  Never mind, that these scribes and Pharisees have already just broken the law themselves because they did not bring the man to Jesus . . . nope, just the woman.

So check it in verses 6-11.  They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

This is so good.  Picture this it’s early, Jesus is teaching a group outside the Temple and here the leaders come rocks in their hands dragging this naked broken woman caught in adultery.  Friends, these men are armed and ready.  (Vs. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with this woman.)  I LOVE this! Jesus turns it all around on them.  As the Jewish leaders were ready to prosecute this woman with rocks in hand Jesus turns it around on them by asking them to let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone and when they are confronted with facing their sin they leave one by one dropping their rocks to the ground.  Halleluiah! Praise God!

Then here is where grace comes in.  When they have all dropped their rocks and left and Jesus stands up and looks this woman in the eye he says (vs. 10-11) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  “No, Lord,” she replied.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  WOW!!  Now that’s what I’m talking about Jesus and His love for sinners; grace, grace marvelous grace.

That is grace my friend.  Was this woman guilty?  Absolutely.  Was Jesus the only sinless person there qualified to throw the rock at her?  Oh yes.  But He doesn’t He says to her Go and sin no more.  So why is this important; there are several reasons.

  1.  Why doesn’t Jesus condemn her?  She’s guilty right.  So as this woman stands before Jesus broken and naked it’s not going to be very long before Jesus goes to the cross, the only sinless perfect man was about to die for this woman who was not.  This is too good friends.  This is my Jesus!!!
  2. I want you to notice He also wants our commitment.  He says Go and sin NO MORE.  He gives grace my friends but He does NOT excuse our sin.  He doesn’t say go and do whatever you want you are covered by my grace.  He says, SIN NO MORE.  Listen, Jesus gives us grace and forgiveness but He hates sin.  Have you ever heard the saying, Hate the sin but love the sinner?  It’s like this Jesus says, Woman, I don’t condemn you but I do not like what you did so go and don’t do it anymore.  Get it?

If you are sitting here saying well, I know this is wrong and I shouldn’t steal this candy bar but I will just do it and then ask for forgiveness; then you don’t get it.  Forgiveness is not a get out of jail free card.  I will do this today and then confess it later.  Nope.  Check it once you come to God with your brokenness He will put you back together and you will not want to go against anything other than to strive to be Christ like.

Today where do you stand . . . are you like one of the Pharisees that are holding the rocks ready to throw them at other people while you stand there in your own sin.  Or perhaps you are like this woman; broken, guilty and have never quite gotten over it.  As you stand there naked and in front of Jesus with your life broken and shattered lying all over the ground are you ready to come to Jesus and give Him ALL of these broken pieces.  Listen friends, with confession and repentance Jesus still stands today ready to forgive us and not condemn us.   The next step is up to you.

Fence Walking

 

 

woman_in_stress

I mentor several women as well as do prison ministry, I’m constantly being asked, “why do I keep winding up here?” “Why can’t I seem to make the right choices?”  These are legitimate questions am I asked almost every week.  These ladies are trying to kick addictions and destructive behaviors and find themselves defeated.  I ask them, “How are you and Jesus?”  They respond, “Well, I try to go to church or I’m trying to read the Bible.”

 

Friends, are you facing the same burdens, the same situations in your life?  It may not be drug addiction but the same applies to excessive shopping, gossip, weight issues, over scheduling, worry and fear.  I’m asking you sweet sisters do you really want to break free from the bondage of sin?  Let’s expose Satan’s lies and shine the truth of God’s word on these questions.

 

In Hosea 4:6 you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.  Basically stated My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.  Ask yourself this very important question, do you really KNOW God.  I’m talking a close personal relationship.  Do you know His voice my friend?

 

John 1:5 This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

 

John 1:5 has the answer to those questions that I keep getting asked.  We cannot go on living with even part of our old man.  There is no room for fence walking in God’s kingdom.  We must must must not walk in darkness.  Check this out John 1:6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

 

Is this you?  Are you living life as Jesus did.  Have you humbly submitted yourself to the master that you claim to have accepted as your personal savior?  Are you walking this out daily?

 

God commands us Do Not Love This World John 1:15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

 

This is powerful stuff and it is true.  Our God expects us to follow these commands.  I challenge you to live as Jesus did.  Listen, this is not a trial run, there is only one life we have to live and if we call Jesus Savior then we have to make Him our Master and follow him and his commands.  Give Him your life and allow Him to work in you and out in you as He wills.  Amen.

 

Praise Him!

 

Altar of Prayer

 1 John 2:6 (NLT)  Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did

To walk as Christ did means we must obey His teachings, follow His example of complete and total obedience to God and loving service to people.  We must notice that Jesus ministry was filled with prayer.  The disciples walked with Him daily, seen His altar of prayer and wanted Him to teach them how to pray.  It’s important, it’s a must in our daily walk to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ to this world.

We must crucify the flesh and line up our desires with God’s will in total surrender to our own wants, desires and idols.  We have to cut off the old life – die to self.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

When the Holy Spirit lives inside of us uninhibited by our flesh there is no limit or extreme He will take in His passion to warn & save others.  Just as Jesus did when He walked this earth.  Jesus knows the cost of this.  He left heaven became man he suffered, he tired, he was tempted just as we are, he became POOR for our sake and ultimately became sin for us through His crucification.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT)  20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We can’t serve two masters, we must not be lukewarm.  If we are to walk as Christ walked, lived as He lived, be His representatives here to this world then we need to crucify our lusts, our natural desires.  We need to lay down the idols that master our lives.  Our idols or our masters are anything that we place over God’s wants and desires; love of money, our business, our busy schedules, our families, our kids sports activities. We have become so pre-occupied by the cares and busyness of our lives that it steals our time, it takes away from our altar of prayer then we lose passion for God and the things of God.  We choose to pursue success, prosperity and self and they do not profit us spiritually or impact His kingdom.

Listen to me, God is not going to interrupt your facebook time or scream at you during your kids football or soccer games.  We must must must crucify the idol of “self” upon our altars of prayer.

Today God still desires your faithfulness to Him, your daily repentance, and a separated life from the world and a burning passion for Him and His kingdom.

Remember that saying What Would Jesus Do?  Well, really ask yourself if you are to walk as Christ did and you are to be in His image, His representative here and now to this world in this life what do you need to sacrifice on your altar of prayer.  It is time for those of us who claim Jesus as Savior to make Him Jesus Savior Master and Lord of our lives.  Crucify our wants and desires and allow your desires to become God’s will then and only then will He give you the desires of your heart!  Get it?

Praise Him!

Image of Christ

Philippians 2:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)lippians 2:3

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to conform to the image of Christ.  When Jesus was on this earth He lived and taught as an example of how we are to live, He was God’s model for us.  From the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit brings God’s revelation of Christ to us to conform us into His image.

Why is it important that as followers we reflect the moral character and Christ’s image? So that when the world sees us, they see Christ.  We are left here to become Jesus’ hands and feet.  We are left here so that when other’s look upon us we reflect Christ in everything we do and say.  If we are reflecting Jesus’ image then we are going to be submitted to God in our attitudes by developing an attitude of repentance and be in total submission to God’s will.  We will walk in forgiveness, freely giving to anyone who has need.  We will act as we know we are the temple of God.

So if we are living to

display Christ’s character we will live a life of self-sacrifice.

Philippians 2:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God  as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;  he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Come on friends we have to truly get a grasp on this.  We are living in a world today where we focus on instant gratification, and live to fulfill

our own selfish desires.  If we want the latest electronic gadget, we charge it.  We have got to have the name brand clothes and designer jewelry.  We are focused on me, me, me.  Even as Christians we go to church one hour one day a week and sit down in a soft plush comfy pew with our 5 buck coffees from the coffee bar and look at the Pastor and say, “ok, you have one hour now feed me so I can get on with my day”.  Check yourself believer, if this resembles you.  Does this bring joy to God?  Are we displaying Christ-like character 2

4/7/365.  Being a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ is not a part-time fascination, it’s a full-time transformation.

In our Women’s Insight Group tonight we are studying on the topic of Real Christians Linger.  Today we are so distracted and hurry sick that we are unaware that we serve a God and that we are to live to bring Him joy.  Most of the time, He isn’t even thought of until we pillow our heads at night and say a little prayer, let alone live a life to bring Him joy and Christ-likeness brings Him joy.

Check out Nehemiah.  Nehemiah 8:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and cel
ebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

When we bring God joy we are strengthened.  Our choices, just like Nehemiah brings God joy.  Nehemiah was not part of the religious establishment, he was just like you and I.  Nehemiah’s relationship with God motivated Him to do God’s will in this world.  God used Nehemiah right where he was and he has placed you where you are to use you right where you are.   What was going on here is that Ezra was reading the law and the people started weeping.  Why were they weeping; because they realized how far they were from obeying the law.  Are you where God wants you to be, are you walking in His plan, are you listening to the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ?

As you read further on in Nehemiah you will see that the people acted upon the words that they heard.  We have got to be careful not to become dulled with hearing God’s word.  We must pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal how we need to apply scripture to our lives.    We MUST do something!  Understand, that as long as you have breath it is not too late.  God is committed to work in you until Christ is formed in you.  You MUST deny your flesh and yourself!  Ask God to reveal and confront you with the worldliness of your heart; whatever that may be for you.  Then allow the Holy Spirit to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!

 

Authentic

I wanted to re-post this blog because my ladies insight group is doing a study on Being Authentic in an Artificial World.  This seemed fitting.

I just wanted to share with you what God has been speaking to me alot about lately. He’s been speaking to me about being authentic and what exactly it means to be authentic. Dictionary.com defines the word as:
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.

I think alot of us go through life putting on a “face” that we show to the world. We pretend we have our lives all together, our jobs are great, our kids are great, our marriage is great – – as a matter of fact the Cleavers have nothing on us. When in reality most of us are broken, wounded, misfit people. We are afraid to let people see the real us because, whoa! We are less than perfect. So we put on our best clothes, fix our hair and make-up and stroll into church with the biggest smile we can muster. We stand and sing we praise and amen but deep down inside we are crying out, we are hurting, we are BROKEN! I challenge you today to be authentic – – be just who you are and let God speak to you, let Him put the song in you, let him put the praise on your lips. Be AUTHENTIC! Be yourself! Let go of all the false faces and pretend smiles and let God be glorified by who you are and the amazing work he has done or is doing in your life.

Bring your hurt, your burdens, your brokeness to God. Let it go – give it to God roll it onto His shoulders. LET IT GO!! Colossians 3:5 – 9.  Seek God everyday from the moment you open your eyes in the morning be intentional about focusing on God and His ways. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2

Then choose to let your true, authentic self reflect the attitude and model the behavior set forth in Colossians 3:12-17.

I pray that we can encourage and uplift one another to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ and that we can truly live the life that Jesus shed His precious blood for us to have!  Take some time today to read the verses mentioned above in Colossians – God has a blessing waiting for you!!

Make today a great day in the Lord!
To God Be All The Glory!

Praise Him!

The Cafe

                                                                                       Voices From The Street

I have had a particularly difficult day today.  At our ministry I am the waitress so I serve our visitors.  Well today I believe that the enemy has pointed the fiery darts directly at me and let go of the bow landing in the middle of my heart.  I’ve been cussed out today, personally insulted and told we need to change the name of our cafe so that people will come in without the fear of being “preached” at.  So as I sit and keep telling myself give God praise in ALL things, I pulled out a poem that our homeless friend wrote to me.  I hope it’s a blessing to you.  I still cry every time I read it.  Some times God allows you the blessing of knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life.

                                                                                                    The Cafe

On a warm summer day a stranger walks into a cafe looking for a job.  At first he was looking like a slob.  The man and woman he met months later he did not regret.  The man turned out to be a preacher.  A man of God yet also a teacher.  The woman was his wife, the love of the preacher’s life.

The stranger had never met anyone like them before until he walked through their door.  They gave the stranger odd jobs whenever they can knowing that God would be happy and grin.

Out of the goodness of their heart they gave the stranger a start.  Yet they did not just help the stranger they also helped others.

While having a life of their own the love for each other has never stopped growin. They even have children who do not act like others.  The kids are young and bright with smiles so bright.  They make their parents proud to the point that they would stick out above the crowd.  The whole family at times work at the cafe no matter if it is sunny or gray.

The only thing the stranger can say is that he hopes and pray that every week they have a good day.

 

Praise Him!  Amen!